02-14-2019 Tri-Cities schools shuttered by freezing rain and snow; NB Historical Museum to host Ar

ANCHOR HONORED BY THE CITY… The City of Hartford recognized Larry Anchor for over a quarter century of community service as proprietor of the Hartford Loan Closet. With domain over an inventory of literally hundreds of recuperative and adaptive devices ranging from crutches and walkers to hospital beds and the occasional electric scooter, Anchor has made himself available often on a movements’ notice to provide no-cost medical devices to members of the community in need. Mayor Rick Hall presented the award at the regular meeting of the City Commission on Jan. 28, 2019 which read in part, “Your dedication is an example of your love for both your fellow man and the community as a whole.” (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)

Tri-Cities schools shuttered by freezing rain and snow

By Jon Bisnett Tuesday morning February 12 found Coloma, Hartford, Watervliet and Grace Christian schools adding yet another Snow Day to their totals, this time due to freezing rain that created ice reported anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 inch across most of Southwest Michigan. Local schools dodged the bullet of ice and snow that knocked out electricity for thousands of homes and business from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids last week. But come Tuesday morning Mother Nature felt compelled once again to remind us all who’s the boss! Wednesday posed the same scenario, but for different reasons… high winds and 12 hours of drifting snow made area roads too hazardous and the schools were closed again. This reporter never signed on to be the Tri-City Record weatherman, but the fallout effecting area schools becomes the newsworthy concern when our unpredictable Michigan weather forces repeated closures as this winter has brutally delivered. The updated Tri-City “Snow Days” scoreboard finds Hartford now with a total of 11, Watervliet and Grace Christian at 10 and Coloma Public Schools with 9. To review, the State of Michigan requires both 180 days of instruction and a minimum of 1,098 instructional hours by law. The state provides six days of standard allowable forgiveness. Schools may file a waiver request for up to an additional three days of forgiveness with the State Superintendent’s Office. The Governor’s “State of Emergency” order did NOT mandate school closures. Rather, “the Executive Order does not call for the required closing of schools. That remains a decision by local school leaders.” – Michigan Department of Education

WELCOME RYAN… The Teeters family welcomed the 4th generation to their family. Ryan Jonah Danrich Teeters arrived on December 9, 2018, weighing in at 7 lbs. and 14 oz. He measured 20- 3/4 inches long. The proud parents are Ryan and Jessica Teeters of Hartford. Baby Ryan’s proud grandparents are Dan and Debbie Teeters of Watervliet, and the very proud and very blessed great-grandparents are Jerry and Sharon Teeters of Lawrence.

So now what? If, and that’s a big if, our Tri-Cities schools are fortunate enough to not have any more days off for any reason; and they receive approval for the additional 3-day waiver, Hartford would need to make up two school days at this point. Watervliet and Grace are looking at one day to make up. In last week’s article it was stated that the Michigan Legislature does have the power to trump all and grant additional forgiveness days if motivated to do so. Some Michigan school districts have a much more desperate situation than our local schools and are already publicly encouraging their parents and stakeholders to lobby their local legislators to step in and grant a reprieve. Of course, social media is awash with hundreds of opinions ranging from those who suggest cancelling spring break to those having a fit over pre-paid vacations scheduled for that time. There are even some who actually think the students should receive the educational days that were intended. In prior articles on the subject of Snow Days the TCR failed to mention yet another complicating factor. School districts cannot just cancel vacations or add day or hours without consideration for the terms of labor contracts already in place with staff and teacher unions. It is a complicated scenario that also trickles down to the athletic directors attempting to reschedule mandatory conference match-ups cancelled by the weather.

Expectations Rest assured that all districts have the safety of students and staff at the heart of any decision to close. It still remains that all our local schools are over the built-in six days of forgiveness. Most likely they’ll get a waiver for up to three days. Given the extreme situation for some Michigan districts, if this reporter were to place a bet, it would be that some legislative rescue will occur. In all likelihood our kids will still have the last day of school on time, give or take a day or two. At this point all we can do is cross our fingers and watch what develops.